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River Runs through It and Other Stories

by Norman Maclean University of Chicago Press
Pub Date:
05/2017
ISBN:
9780226472065
Format:
Pbk 240 pages
Price:
AU$39.99 NZ$41.73
Product Status: Out of stock. Not available to order.
When Norman Maclean sent the manuscript of A River Runs through It to New York publishers, he received a slew of rejections. One editor, so the story goes, replied, “it has trees in it.” Forty years later, the title novella is recognized as one of the great American tales of the twentieth century, and Maclean as one of the most beloved writers of our time. The finely distilled product of a long life of often surprising rapture—for fly fishing, for the woods and their people, and for the interlocked beauty of life and art—A River Runs through It has over the decades established itself as a classic of the American West. This new edition will introduce a fresh audience to Maclean’s beautiful prose and understated emotional insights.


Elegantly redesigned, A River Runs through It includes a new foreword by Robert Redford, whose film adaptation of River turns twenty-five in 2017. Based on Maclean’s own experiences as a young man, the two novellas and short story it contains are set in the small towns and mountains of western Montana. It is a world populated with drunks, loggers, card sharks, and whores, but also one rich in the pleasures of fly fishing, logging, cribbage, and family. By turns raunchy and elegiac, these superb tales express, in Maclean’s own words, “a little of the love I have for the earth as it goes by.”


Though he grew up in the first decades of the twentieth century in the western Rockies—working summers in logging camps and for the US Forest Service and cultivating a lifelong passion for the dry fly—it was only at the age of seventy, as a retired English professor, that Norman Maclean discovered what he was meant to do: write. Moving and profound, A River Runs through It honors the literary legacy of a man who improbably gave voice to an essential corner of the American soul. “I am haunted by waters,” Maclean writes at the close of A River Runs through It. So, now, are we all.

Foreword by Robert Redford (2017)


Acknowledgments (1976)A River Runs through It


Logging and Pimping and "Your Pal, Jim"


USFS 1919: The Ranger, the Cook, and a Hole in the Sky

“If there is a smarter, more affecting meditation on the themes of fathers and sons, brothers, the pleasures of the natural world, love, loss, and the haunting power of water, I have yet to come across it. As it has for many others, A River Runs through It became for me a kind of central text, equal parts fishing primer, literary masterwork, and spiritual guide. . . . It remains one of my most beloved books.”


- Jon Gluck, New York Times


 


“Maclean’s book - acerbic, laconic, deadpan - rings out of a rich American tradition that includes Mark Twain, Kin Hubbard, Richard Bissell, Jean Shepherd, and Nelson Algren.”


- James R. Frakes, New York Times Book Review


 


“The title novella is the prize. . . . Something unique and marvelous: a story that is at once an evocation of nature's miracles and realities and a probing of human mysteries. Wise, witty, wonderful, Maclean spins his tales, casts his flies, fishes the rivers and the woods for what he remembers from his youth in the Rockies.”


-Barbara Bannon, Publishers Weekly
Norman Maclean (1902-1990), woodsman, scholar, teacher, and storyteller, grew up in the Rocky Mountains of western Montana. As a young man, he worked in logging camps and for the United States Forest Service. He was awarded an undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. He was the William Rainey Harper Professor of English at the University of Chicago, teaching the Romantic poets and Shakespeare. After his retirement in 1973, he began to write the stories he liked to tell, which became the book A River Runs Through It and Other Stories, published to widespread acclaim. The book was the first work of original fiction published by the University of Chicago Press. It was nominated by a selection committee to receive the Pulitzer Prize in Letters in 1977, but the full committee ignored the nomination and did not award a Pulitzer in that category for the year. In the last years of his life, he wrote an account of the 1949 Mann Gulch forest fire. It was published posthumously as Young Men and Fire, and won the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1992.